By Joel Hillan

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)– Raymond Riley has been ringing the bell for the Salvation Army in front of the University Hills King Soopers six days a week since 2006.

“Making money for the poor, people that need it,” he said.

(credit: CBS)

Ray knows what it means to have to come to the Salvation Army for a hand up.

“Well, I’ve been down and out and they’ve helped me, got me back on my feet so it’s like paying my church tithes and giving back.”

“The Salvation Army is all about helping people who are in need and this year the requests for services are up and or donations are down,” said Major Mike Dickinson, regional Salvation Army commander.

(credit: CBS)

Friday, a volunteer bell ringer in Fort Collins took off with a kettle and the $400 inside.

“It’s like a punch in the gut when somebody takes from us which really isn’t stealing from the Salvation Army it’s stealing from somebody that’s in need,” said Mike.

Ray says he could not imagine someone doing that.

“I don’t know, I’d be smashed. We work hard to get all the money donated and then someone just takes it.”

(credit: CBS)

In a year-to-date comparison, the Salvation Army says donations to the kettles in metro Denver are down about $70,000.

“We would just encourage folks if you can be extra generous we would appreciate that help,” said Mike.

And Ray says he’ll do his part too.

(credit: CBS)

“I’m just going to keep on donating, like my mom said, ‘Just keep giving back.’ They saved my life so I’ve got to give.”

The Salvation Army says King Soopers heard about the theft and will donate $400 to replace what was stolen from the kettle.

Joel Hillan anchors CBS4 This Morning on weekends as well as reports stories for CBS4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. Follow Joel on Twitter @joelhillan.

  1. I’m not donating to an anti-gay organization.

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